The popularity of the rock group Guns N' Roses is reality, not illusion.
Sales of the group's "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" albums, which were released yesterday, were going, uh, great guns, according to several area record stores.
Plenty of prerelease hype and media attention had surrounded the release of the twin albums by the heavy-metal band, considered one of the most popular rock and roll bands in the world.
At Waxie Maxie's on Falls Road in Baltimore, which put the albums on sale at 12:01 a.m., 150 pairs of CDs and 75 pairs of cassettes had been sold as of noon and the store was bracing for another onslaught of buyers late yesterday afternoon and early evening, said assistant store manager Mark Gardner.
The store let buyers in to listen to the albums beginning at 11 p.m. Monday and by the time the album went on sale an hour later "there was a line covering about two-thirds of the store and off to the side of the building," Mr. Gardner said.
A similar "listening party" at Kemp Mill Records in Annapolis Plaza, which also put the album on sale at midnight, attracted about 300 people, said manager Jonelle Jones. As of yesterday afternoon, the store had sold about 100 pairs of the release, she said.
Record World in Marley Station had sold 60 pairs of CDs and 25 pairs of tapes of "Illusion" as of early yesterday afternoon, according to manager Jason Ball, who said the Guns N' Roses releases were the hottest-selling product he could remember since the November 1986 five-album live set from Bruce Springsteen.
The release became the top-seller at the four-store Recordmasters chain within hours after they went on sale, said owner Mike Richman.
Geffen Records said it shipped 2 million copies of "Use Your Illusion I" and another 2 million of "Use Your Illusion II" to record stores, and estimated that early Tuesday sales of both discs totaled 500,000.